So you’ve lost your job—what’s next?
First of all, take a moment to assess….
Are you angry, frightened, maybe? You may be getting quite an adrenaline rush as you try to figure out what to do.
That’s energy—use it.
Don’t wait to get started on the resume, a list of your employment assets or to make an evaluation of your finances. Do it now.
But you may also be feeling just the opposite—in shock, sad or numb. If you have the ability and need a day or two to wallow in self-pity, go right ahead and do it. Cry on a friend’s shoulder, hit a pillow or watch a “feel good” movie. Let yourself mourn for a day or so.
But only for a day or so. You are your greatest resource right now, and it is important, once you’ve given yourself a little time, to get started….
So what is the first thing you do?
1) Find out whether you’re entitled to benefits and if so, what they are:
Go to the Human Resources Department of your former employer to check on severance packages, compensation due, benefits and unemployment resources. Here is a great about.com article about what to look into when checking out what resources might be available from your former employer. http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobloss/tp/loseyourjobs.htm
Some employers even have services to help you to retrain or find another job. It is worth a thorough investigation after you’ve been let go.
Here are some resources from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding help in dealing with a job loss: http://www.doleta.gov/jobseekers/deal_jobloss.cfm
2) Evaluate your own resources and expenses and reduce your spending budget:
Add up savings and severance packages and all of your income. Then add up all of your monthly expenses and cut out everything that is not a necessity. Here’s another great About.com article – tips on how to pare down monthly expenses. Remember—the more you can live without, the longer your money will last and the greater your options.
3) Write a new resume to begin your new job search:
While it’s still fresh in your mind, write down a list of your accomplishments and job experiences and the duties you had at your last position. Make sure you include any particular assignments or responsibilities, especially those in which you excelled. Also list 3 references from people who would give you a good recommendation.
Where to go online for help:
Also here’s monster.com’s advice on how to write a resume and even what to do after you’ve lost your job!
The U.S. Govt. also offers help for job seekers at usajobs.gov . Also see http://jobsearch.about.com/od/governmentjobs1/p/usajobs.htm
4) Assess Your Skills:
Department of Labor http://www.doleta.gov/jobseekers/career_options.cfm
What Color is Your Parachute? http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/
And Get Creative:
Maybe this is the time to go back to school and finally get that degree or train for a new career. There are many financial aid programs available to help you to learn a new skill.
Finally, and most importantly:
5) Don’t panic:
Maybe this should be #1 vs #5! But once the initial adrenaline rush is over and you’ve handled all of the practical nitty gritty details of your new situation, those negative thoughts might start sneaking in to your consciousness, and you want to be prepared to dispatch them before they get the better of you.
Don’t let those sneaky thoughts try to beat you up with remorse, or get you to give up hope. The truth is, you could get a new job tomorrow, or you could find something that you like better this time around.
Whatever happens, remember that a job loss, though traumatic, is not the end of the world. You may find instead a real opportunity for a new beginning— a chance to follow your passion or pursue a lifelong dream.
Good luck and God bless you!